Patricia Hofer

CS Lewis on “the Law of Human Nature”

There has always been more to our religious believing than the fear and awe of something greater than we are. As CS Lewis wrote, human beings have always found “themselves under a moral law, which they did not make, and cannot quite forget even when they try, and which they know they ought to obey” (Mere Christianity, “What Lies Behind the Law”). We also feel inspired to live in ways that fit this greater and unseen reality. At its earliest, this understanding of what was to be human probably emerged as little more than a sense of fairness—you don’t eat more than your share. You don’t demand more from others than you give. Such internally motivated guidelines for behavior weren’t always practical or even logical. Sharing too little with too many could starve everyone. That’s probably why Lewis called such morality “the Law of Human Nature.” It was the one “law” that humans do not “share with animals or vegetables or inorganic things” (Mere Christianity). And, though they may explain and apply this moral “law” differently, all the world’s religions respond in some way to it.
(from Living Large, chapter 3, ©️ 2013)

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